Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Filmed in Canada, the H.G. Wells-inspired science fiction series War of the Worlds was cleverly linked to both the infamous 1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast and the classic George Pal 1953 theatrical-film version of the same property. Originally telecast in syndication on October 7, 1988, the new series' two-hour pilot set forth the premise that "first contact" between the Earth and the fictional planet Mortax (standing in for Mars) had occurred fifty years earlier (in 1938) and that the hostile Mortaxians had been defeated by Earth in an interplanetary war 15 years later (in 1953). In the 35 intervening years, the alien survivors from that war had been preserved alive in huge storage drums at various nuclear waste disposal sites. Over the decades, the bacteria that had halted the Mortaxian invasion had been killed off, allowing the aliens to revive and escape. Congregating secretly with their hooded leaders, known as the Advocates, the alien warriors set about to complete their mission to conquer the earth, utilizing their ability to absorb and take on their appearances of human bodies. The only way a real human could determine the identity of a disguised Mortaxian was when the latter's body began to deteriorate and develop grotesque deformities, then ultimately melt into a puddle of goo, because of its high radiation content. Research scientist Dr. Harrison Blackwood (Jared Martin) was the first earthling to suspect that the aliens were alive and at large. Setting up headquarters at a secret military facility called The Cottage, Blackwood worked side by side with divorced microbiologist Suzanne McCullough (Lynda Mason Green), paraplegic black computer genius Norton Drake (Philip Akin), and rulebound Native American military officer Col. Paul Ironhorse (Richard Chaves) to track down the aliens and thwart their takeover schemes. For its second season, the weekly, hour-long series was retitled War of the Worlds--The Second Invasion. Norton Drake and Col. Ironhorse were killed off, whereupon Ironhorse's former subordinate John Kincaid (Adrian Paul) joined Blackwood's team. Also, the Mortaxians were destroyed en masse for failing in their mission by another, alien race, the humanoid Morthrai. Led by the Hitlerlike Malzor (Dennis Forest) and his consort Mana (Catherine Disher), who took their orders directly from the Morthrai god "The Eternal", this new crop of invaders encountered only token resistance in conquering the Earth, which somehow had become a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape without a central government. Thus, the human protagonists were even more "on their own" than they'd been in Season One, and had to be all that more resourceful in fending off the Morthrai warriors, not to mention insane Morthrai scientist Ardix (Julian Richings), who prattled on about "purifying" the earth by wiping out the undesirable humans. War of the Worlds ran for 44 episodes, the last of which originally aired in the US on May 19, 1990.